Tool of the Week: Manual Impact Driver

Ok, this tool is a must have that works for any budget or space constraint.  I used it for the first time today and was blown away.  First, credit where due: I didn’t even know what this thing was until Don Casey suggested picking one up in “This Old Boat.”  I took his advice and I am so thankful I did!

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This is basically a huge screwdriver with interchangeable bits that you hit with a sledge hammer!  Now why on earth would you want to do that?  Here’s why:  I bent a screwdriver into a cork screw today trying to get these seized screws out of the holding tank inspection plate.  I am not joking, the flat head tip of the screw driver twisted!  And this was a quality screw driver that I spent far too much money on.  So then I took out the drill and put a flat-head bit into it – no go and I was starting to strip the screw!  That is always a sign to drop whatever tools are in your hand, sit down, and think – don’t keep screwing things up by acting!


Back to the impact driver.  Check this out:  I put the flat head bit in, gave it a mighty blow with the 3lbs hammer and just like that the impossible screw turned a full quarter of a turn!  Another blow and I had made it half way around!  Two more blows a full turn!  This was getting exciting!  Just like that, each stubborn seized screw was released from its eternal bondage and I was able to turn them the rest of the way out in a more civil fashion.

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For those interested, the mechanics behind this device are quite simple.  The handle bit of the driver that you hold and hammer down on pushes down at an angle onto the driver part that holds the screwdriver bit.  So when you give it a whack with the hammer it twists 1/4 of a turn.  The force of the hammer keeps the bit inside the screw head so it doesn’t strip out.  It is fantastic and guess what?  They are only about $30.  So go get you one!


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